Episode 160: Peter Carrescia on Why Patents Won’t Solve Canada’s Innovation Problem

Law Bytes
Law Bytes
Episode 160: Peter Carrescia on Why Patents Won’t Solve Canada’s Innovation Problem

In recent years, there has been growing effort to link longstanding concerns about Canadian innovation with patents. The argument – which has crossed into Canada’s strategy around AI – posits that the road to an innovative economy is inextricably linked to a greater emphasis on intellectual property and in particular on patents. But what if the correlation between patents and innovation is weak at best? What if an emphasis on patents may actually be harmful to startups whose attention and resources is better placed elsewhere? Peter Carrescia is a successful innovator and investor who recently wrote a Globe and Mail op-ed that raises precisely these issues. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about his experience and concerns with direction of government policy that may be mistaking an IP policy for an innovation one.


  1. Patents are a useful tool for protecting intellectual property, but they are not a solution to Canada’s innovation problem. Patents can help protect the investments made in research and development, but they do not necessarily lead to the development of new products or services. Patents may give companies a temporary monopoly, but they do not guarantee success. Innovation requires an environment that is conducive to risk-taking, experimentation and collaboration. Canada needs to invest in research and development and create an environment that encourages the development of new ideas and technologies. This includes investing in education, infrastructure, and incentives for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Patents can also be used to stifle competition and limit innovation. Companies with large patent portfolios may be able to use them to block out new entrants in the market. This can slow down the pace of innovation and limit the potential for new products and services.

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